Minneapolis / St. Paul Chapter Newsletter  
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"A Taste of Italy" Garden Party

Jill Goski
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June 2019
Message from Jill Goski, TTN MSP Chair

Our Chapter Journey

I first became aware of The Transition Network when Karen West, a colleague in an Encore Leadership Program, invited me to an informational meeting and later to join a small group of women leading the formation of a Minneapolis/St. Paul Chapter of TTN. Kim Fischer and Karen West were part of the original chapter leaders and without them we wouldn't have launched a chapter here. We owe a debt of gratitude to Karen and Kim!

As I learned more about TTN, I realized how much the Vision, Mission and Values mirrored many of my own values and interests. And so, for me it was easy to quickly embrace TTN.  The journey to achieving official chapter status took a little longer than originally anticipated. Some of the challenges included:
  • being located in a fairly dispersed geographic area with challenging winters and the rest of the year consumed with road construction.
  • locating low or no cost meeting venues convenient and accessible for our dispersed membership.
  • communicating what was unique about TTN in contrast to lots of other local organizations targeting the same population:  SHIFT, Vital Aging Network, AARP, Next Avenue, etc. The deeper connections made through the TTN small group activities, SIGs and TPGs, are unique!
  • creating an organization culture where members both benefit from TTN and contribute to TTN as their talents and time permit.   
A Renewed Effort

In June 2017 our expanded TTN Steering Committee comprised of Eleni Skevas, Cyndy Nelson, Grace Bartholet, Karen Carr and Gwen Enzler met for the first time with Kim Fischer and me. This small group of women committed to journey together with our members to learn about TTN on a deeper level. The goal was to explore whether a Minneapolis/St. Paul Chapter of TTN could be given new life, increased energy, and expanded relevance for our growing and valued membership and in the process achieve full-fledged Chapter status by attaining 50 members.

Our Membership Numbers

After a year, we reflected on how far we had come and realized our membership had grown from hovering around 20 in June 2017 to 40 in July 2018 so four of us committed to a second year as a Steering Committee. Kim decided to step down as co-chair to pursue other priorities since she was living half the year in Arizona.  Today we have 73 members in the MSP Chapter: 33 new members joined in 2018 and 22 new members have joined since Jan 1, 2019.

We exceeded our goal and were thrilled when invited to become the 14 th Official Chapter of TTN on June 1, 2019!   To paraphrase a quote from Margaret Mead: Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.   And, in this case that small group of women was our Steering Committee:  Eleni, Cyndy, and Grace who worked tirelessly with me and our members to accomplish this goal.  I can't thank them enough for their commitment, patience, tenacity, creativity, spirit, and huge hearts!  

The Value of a National Organization

TTN is a tax-exempt National Organization of about 3,000 members with individual chapters.  National encourages and supports local chapters by providing experience, connections to other chapters, legal and organizational infrastructure, marketing to reach additional women, and a wide array of resources to assist in chapter formation and development.  The three National TTN staff members Executive Director, Susan Collins, Jennifer Monahan, and Nancy Gendimenico have been instrumental in supporting our local chapter journey to official chapter status. We thank all of them and were honored to have Susan Collins join our May 18 th Celebration.

Our Chapter Programs

The repertoire of programs and events we now offer includes three or four large group programs each year.  This past year we offered the TTN signature program titled Women In Transition in the fall, a Conscious Aging program facilitated by Karen West in January and the May event with speaker Lorna Landvik to celebrate becoming an official Chapter.  Additionally, we partnered with Saging International when their conference was held in Chaska in October and held a Winter Solstice Party in December which was a wonderful connecting event! We offered monthly Mix and Mingles from Fall until Spring and last Summer, we offered several social events capitalizing on outdoor activities including a Tea in a member's beautiful garden, a Brunch at a member's lovely lake home and picnics in public parks.    We now have two Transition Peer Groups (TPGs) and six Special Interest Groups (SIGs) including Book Discussion, Finance, Art Appreciation, Theater, Urban Hiking, and Writing and two more SIGs holding organizational meetings this month: Travel and a second Writing group!

We Couldn't Have Done It Without Our Incredible Members!!

Most exciting is that this has been a collective effort through contributions of our talented members!   We believe that since we are entirely a volunteer organization, our chapter will only grow and flourish through the contributions of our members while they simultaneously benefit from other members contributions. We know that individual member contributions will ebb and flow along with other personal obligations and priorities . Contributions may range from one-time assistance at an event, writing an article, planning a meeting of a SIG or TPG, or whatever ideas members have for contributing, to committing to serve in an ongoing role for a designated period of time.
The May 18 th Celebration is an example of contributions from a broad spectrum of our members who we can't thank enough for their efforts.  First, the Celebration Planning Committee, comprised of JeNell Jacobsen, Terri Evans, Pam Egan, Eleni Skevas, Cyndy Nelson, Jane Carlson, and Jill Goski who met as a team for about nine months creating the perfect plan for a splendid event.  Additionally, the plan included involvement of so many of our members who contributed in incredible ways beforehand to the detailed planning and on May 18 th to the delivery of an engaging and inspiring occasion. Thanks to all of you!

Our strength comes from our talented membership contributing to our chapter's common good. THANK YOU MEMBERS!! We look forward to continued growth in membership, program opportunities and connections within our TTN community of women!  

June at a Glance!

Upcoming Events...

Potluck Picnic in the Park 

Monday, June 17th
Time: 5:00-7:30 PM
Location: Como Park West Picnic Shelter

Our June social event is a potluck picnic at Como Park. We have reserved the West Picnic shelter which is located near the Hamline Ave and Midway Parkway entrance. The shelter is across the street from Como Town! A parking lot with free parking is available near the shelter. This shelter will keep us dry in case of light right.

Bring a dish to share and your own beverage. Bring a friend! We plan to eat around 5:30.

Following the picnic, anyone who is interested is welcome to join the Urban Hiking SIG to take a walk in this beautiful park.

For more information:  Click Here!
Online WELCOME Orientation for New Members

Friday, June 21
Registration Deadline: 
Wednesday, June 19th
Time: 11:00 AM-12:00 PM Central Time
Location: Online Webinar 

This webinar happens every month and is a great opportunity to "get to know TTN". You can always find the current offering of this webinar if you go to National (in the Chapters section) and click on the link for  National Chapter Events.

Contact: Jennifer Monahan at  info@thetransitionnetwork.org

For more information:  Click Here!

"A Taste of Italy" Garden Party in St. Michael, Minnesota,  Members Only Event

Saturday, July 13th 
Time:  11:00 AM
Location:  St. Michael, Minnesota (Address will be provided a few days before the potluck)

Attendees are asked to bring an Italian dish (a salad, main dish, or dessert to share, as well as 30 copies of the recipe for this dish (preferably recipe card size, 3 x 5). Have fun! Try something new!

For more information:  Click Here!
May Social Events Recap

Women Connecting, Creating, and Contributing
Saturday, May 18, 2019

We were honored to have TTN Executive Director, Susan Collins, join us for our May 18 Celebration and get to know the wonderful women of our chapter better.  After the event, Susan wrote

Dear Members of TTN's MSP Chapter,
This past weekend marked another significant milestone for The Transition Network. The Minneapolis/St. Paul Chapter was formally added as our 14th chapter and we couldn't be more thrilled. 
Your leadership team has worked tirelessly over the past few years to engage the women in your area. They have helped you realize that you are not alone in the transitions you are experiencing and have planned programs and events to help you connect. They have formed transition peer groups so you could deepen your understanding of what's ahead in your life and helped you start special interest groups to build comradery. And on Saturday, you demonstrated your appreciation by showing up and making the chapter celebration a huge success. Since then (and as of this writing), 8 women have joined the chapter bringing your membership to over 70 vibrant, interesting and engaged women in transition!
Personally, I was honored to be part of your celebration. My greatest joy as TTN's Executive Director is meeting members and the women of Minneapolis/St. Paul reinforced my belief that TTN is an important and meaningful organization. Seeing you connect with each other and enjoy this wonderful event makes me feel so proud. I know the MSP chapter will have a very bright future, especially if you all find a way to contribute to its success.

Thank you Jill, Eleni, Cyndy and Grace for your hospitality and for your continued commitment to TTN. You have earned the respect and appreciation of our members in Minneapolis/St. Paul and the gratitude of our Board of Directors. 
Until we meet again...
My sincerest best wishes,


We were very excited to have Lorna Landvik join us for the afternoon and be our keynote speaker. One of the participant comments summed it up perfectly - "Lorna Landvik was a hoot". As Lorna was leaving, she commented that this was a rare speaking engagement for her  in that TTN was an organization she actually could consider joining. TTN offered her a one-year membership and she accepted. We are happy to report that Lorna Landvik is a TTN MSP member and look forward to having her join us at an upcoming event.

On surveys submitted after the event, members commented
  • "I CONNECTED with many amazing women and got several ideas for how I can CREATE opportunities for myself and CONTRIBUTE to TTN and to my community!"
  • "What a wonderful day! Thank you so much for such a well-planned event!"
  • "I loved this event. The pacing was excellent for mingling and bidding on silent auction items. Everything was so organized! Lorna Landvik was a hoot! Thank you."
  • "First time to any TTN event; friend invited me. Ended up to be a powerful experience; I loved breaking into the small groups. Because of this event, I plan to join some SIGs and a peer group. This came at a time in my life where I really need it whoopee!"
  • "Great event. Wonderful speakers and well-planned activities. Food was delicious. The people that organized this event did a great job!"
  • "Good work, good women! Thank you!!"
  • "As an introvert, big gatherings where I don't know many people are a bit challenging but inspire me to attend more regularly and get to know folks. It's a lovely community of women."
  • "This is the first TTN event I've attended. Looking forward to learning more, meeting more people."
  • "Really enjoyed Lorna Landvik."

TTN Member, Robin Getman , wrote:

Congratulations, TTN-Minneapolis/St. Paul, and thank you to every one of you who helped plan, organize, and pull-off the May 18, 2019, celebration!

What a treat it was to step out of the cold and windy mid-May (seriously?) day, into the warm and welcoming arms of silly-hatted volunteers and a thoughtfully planned participant-focused party.

All of this for me ? Oh, you shouldn't have... And, I'm so glad yo u did!

Thank you! for  Connecting  members and friends with captivating speakers and leaders, small group interaction, printed name badges, information packets, and sign-up sheets.

Thank you! for Creating  an experience with food and wine (and water), ample seating, space to move about, a clear agenda, balloons, and some of that old-time rock and roll.

Thank you! for  Contributing  to our personal and organizational growth, for donating to and bidding on Silent Auction items, for recycling plastic and paper, and for igniting and fanning passion for continued Connecting, Creating & Contributing.

Silent Auction team member, Rina Cooper , wrote:

Silent Auction Nets Fun, Generosity & Help for the Future

As the Minneapolis St. Paul Chapter gathered to celebrate becoming an official chapter, the women of TTN and their guests stepped up through the Silent Auction to provide for our Chapter's future. We raised nearly $1000, which will offset some of the costs of future programs and give back to our members. Thank you to all the generous donors and bidders.

But for me and the other Silent Auction Committee members, it wasn't just the proceeds; it was seeing our vision of interesting women having fun realized. From an interesting array of items, to hearing the laughter and great conversation, it was a delight to watch everyone enjoy themselves.

I learned some things too along the way!
  • We have several talented TTN member artists who donated wonderful handmade items!
  • Coffee is a bit more popular than tea, according to the number of bidders on a coffee basket and CafĂ© Latte gift card!
  • The women who come to TTN events are ever curious and are always looking for a good book
  • They are also so willing to stop and chat with other women, who often turn into new friends
Thanks to all who came and to the other Committee Members, Erin Campbell & JeNell Jacobson.

Special Interest Groups (SIGs) and Transition Peer Groups(TPGs) (available with paid membership only)

Special Interest Groups (SIGs) are topic or activity-focused. There is no limit to the groups that can be created because they all originate with and are guided by members! If you have an idea for a new SIG and would like to find out if others are interested, please contact Eleni Skevas at  eskevs@yahoo.com.
Transition Peer Groups (TPGs) (TPGs) are small groups who meet to discuss topics from career transitions to changing family relationships to the benefits and challenges of aging. Each group selects its own topics and shares group facilitation and guidance. TTN provides resources to help these groups get started and flourish. There is always an opportunity for a formation of new peer groups in a different geographic location and/ or around specific topics. If you are interested in joining or starting a TPG, please contact Barbara O'Sullivan at 

Just a friendly reminder: We always welcome new women to check out our SIGs along with our many social occasions and programs. Please remember that non-members are welcome to attend SIGs & TPGs for a maximum of two times after which, per national policy, women are required to become a member of TTN to continue SIG/TPG participation.
Joining is easy and economical. Just go to the TTN website -  Click Here!

- s ubmitted by Sylvia Moen

The Life Animated peer group met in May to discuss the role books/movies/tv shows play in your life? Which ones do you like? The discussion was led by Terri. 

The discussion began with members talking generally about the kinds of media they consumed. Some didn't watch television or movies and primarily read books. Book genres mentioned included fantasy, novels, history, non-fiction. One member liked to watch older films but not current movies. Another said she liked television because you could do other things while watching it. Some of us were in book clubs or movie clubs where we could share our thoughts with others. 

Some films were important at certain times in our lives, such as romantic movies like Dr. Zhivago while in college. We talked about how movies on TV took on more of an "event" quality when we were growing up due to being aired live, when you either saw them or missed them. One example was "The Wizard of Oz". 

Next meeting:

June 13, 10:15, Highland Library. The topic is "Listening", led by Julie. 

Please contact Eleni Skevas at 
eskevs@yahoo.com if you are interested in joining this group.

TRANSITION PEER GROUP - Living with Purpose  
- submitted by Barbara O'Sullivan

The Living with Purpose Peer Group will get together on Thursday, June 27, for a potluck picnic to celebrate summer. We will use the opportunity as a way to learn more about each other and deepen our friendships. We will have great conversation and good food while enjoying the beautiful outdoors.  
Our May meeting focused on listening. We shared what we learned from intentionally listening to others, to ourselves as well as to our surroundings.  
New members are always welcomed. For more information, please contact Barbara O'Sullivan at Barbara.osullivan@hotmail.com.  

TRAVEL SIG - NEW - submitted by Julie Efta

At the TTN Celebration on May 18, sixteen women expressed an interest in starting a Travel SIG. In addition to these 16 women, we anticipate there are others who are interested. Julie has volunteered to organize the first meeting.
Initial meeting:
Friday, June 7,10:00 AM-NOON
Spyhouse Coffee Shop, downtown Minneapolis adjacent to Emery Hotel
215 S 4th Street, Minneapolis
Let Julie know that you plan to attend at  teacherjulie.efta@gmail.com
If you do not want to park downtown, you can take the Greenline or Blueline and walk a block or two. This new coffee house is a beautiful large atrium space with large tables.
Our first meeting will be informal with the purpose of getting to know each other and deciding on where, when, how often to meet in the future. We will also discuss possible future meeting topics and how we want to function.
Bring your ideas. And consider volunteering to be a co leader of this group!
After the meeting, we can explore the food trucks outside for lunch.
If you cannot attend please send Julie your thoughts and suggestions for future meetings.

WRITER's SIG 2 - NEWsubmitted by Julie Efta

Numerous women have expressed interest in joining a writing SIG so a second writing group is forming! We plan to meet on two Saturday afternoons: June 1 and June 29.

These are both organizational meetings to meet each other and discuss expectations. You do not have to bring any writing samples to share for these meetings, but if you do have something ready, please do. Also, you do not have to attend both days. Summers are busy so we hope to have this group established by fall. The day of week and time may change for future meetings. 

Please contact Julie to learn the locations and exact time for June meetings. 

Julie can be contacted at Teacherjulie.efta@gmail.com

FINANCIAL SIG  - submitted by Cyndy Nelson

On Tuesday, May 21, ten women of the Financial SIG met at the Roseville library and discussed mutual funds and Exchange Traded Funds (ETF). We considered how owning funds can help one diversify risk by owning a variety of stocks instead of only a few. We reviewed how both Mutual Funds and ETF can be actively managed where a fund manager selects the stocks or be based on an index. Fees are lower when the fund is based on an index. Nancy brought information about a seminar she had attended by RetirementWealthAcademy.com. She thought the seminar covered good topics, but wasn't sure if she recommended it for others.

Our next meeting will be on Tuesday, June 18, from 7:00-8:30 PM at the Roseville Library Board Room, 2180 Hamline Ave, Roseville. New TTN member and estate planning attorney, Barb Heen, will be sharing information about estate planning.
Our July meeting will be on Tuesday, July 16. Location TBD
The purpose of this group is to increase our personal financial literacy. The knowledge of members about financial topics varies from beginner to more experienced. Our topics will be selected based on what individual members are interested in. We are currently meeting on the third Thursday of the month at 7:00 PM. New members are welcome. Come and give it a try.

Please email Cyndy at clnelson03@gmail.com if you are interested in joining us or have questions.

BOOK DISCUSSION SIG submitted by Beth Stockinger

Eight women met on May 14 at Julie's house and discussed the non-fiction book Factfulness: Ten Reasons We're Wrong About the World-and Why Things Are Better Than You Think  by Hans Rosling. There was a mixed reaction to the book and it generated a lot of good discussion.
Our June meeting will be on June 11 at Terri's home. We will be reading the book Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover. This book has received much acclaim:
  • #1 New York Times, Wall Street Journal , and Boston Globe bestseller
  • Named one of the ten best books of the year by the New York Times Book Review
  • One of President Barack Obama's Favorite books of the year
  • Bill Gate's holiday reading list
Books selected for the upcoming months:
  • July 9th - Little Fires Everywhere - novel by Celeste Ng
  • August 13th Political Tribes - Group Instinct and the Fate of Nations - Amy Chua
Like to read? Enjoy participating in lively discussion? Come and join us! We meet in member's homes on the second Tuesday of the month at 6:30 PM.

For more information, contact Group Coordinator, Grace Bartholet at  gbartholet@gmail.com.

ART APPRECIATION SIGsubmitted by JeNell Jacobson

If you are interested in discovering more about the local art scene, join the ART APPRECIATION SIG. Together we will experience many types of creative expression: paintings, pottery, sculpture, textiles. We usually meet on weekday afternoons, occasionally an evening or Saturday. Exhibits are FREE or low cost.

Thursday, May 2nd - We enjoyed getting together at Keg and Case Market an Iconic St. Paul  destination that has restaurants, specialty food stores and other vendors. Good conversation and food!    

Thursday, June 6th - Northrup King Building, First Thursdays offers visitors an opportunity to explore many open artist studios on four floors. This historic building in NE Minneapolis is a twin cities iconic destination. We will meet at 6:30 at 1599 Jackson St NE, Minneapolis, MN. We'll connect via cell phone to determine where we will meet inside. Please give Tracey your cell number before June 6 th .   https://www.northrupkingbuilding.com/

In July instead of viewing art created by others, we will be making art at Tracey's house in Roseville. Attendees will have a chance to work on a mosaic, make jewelry, or create small collages.  The emphasis will be on having fun. Bring something you have made (or a picture of it) or an artwork you love created by someone else. Feel free to come and talk about art if you don't enjoy getting your hands dirty. Date in July TBD.

If you are interested in participating contact Tracey Baker 651 . 633 . 5213  tracey.baker@gmail.com  or JeNell Jacobson 612 . 387 . 1336    jenell@jacobson.org                          

THEATRE SIG   - submitted by Eleni Skevas

Great news! The Theater SIG's private Facebook group page is up and running and 15 (of 24) interested SIG participants have joined the online group.

Features and benefits of the private group page include:
  • A new template for planning and organizing events in which any participant can initiate a theater outing
  • Real time discussions and reviews about must-see events, actors, and venues
  • 2018-2019 Season announcements by Artistry, Guthrie Theater, History Theatre, Jungle Theater, Penumbra, Theater Latte Da, Ten Thousand Things
Want to join us? Here are three quick steps to get you started:

1) Access the private group page on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/ttntheatermsp/
2) Request to join the group. 
3) The group administrator will receive notification of your request, accept your request, and viola! You're in!

When you receive notification your request was accepted, take a closer look at the site and:
  • Chime in on discussions
  • Join us at an event
  • Initiate an event
We look forward to seeing you at an event soon!

For more information or help navigating FB or the private FB group page, please email Robin Getman at rgetman220@aol.com.

WRITER's SIG 1 - submitted by Julie Efta

The Writing SIG members continue to enjoy reading aloud our recent work and giving positive feedback to each other. We also spend time during the meeting writing something new from shared prompts and then reading them. We laugh a lot and inspire each other. Five members is an ideal size for this group to give everyone a chance to participate and to fit around our gracious host's table. In June, the group will be meeting on June 14 and 28.

URBAN HIKING SIG -submitted by Cyndy Nelson

Five members of the Urban Hiking SIG picked a warm, sunny May Wednesday morning to walk a portion of the Big River Regional Trail in Mendota Heights. We had great conversation while we walked, saw the convergence of the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers, and even saw a Bald Eagle sitting in a nearby tree.
On June 17, we will have a hike at Como Park after the potluck picnic. Hike will start about 7:00 PM.
This SIG gives us the opportunity to explore and/or introduce others to new locations in the metro area. Our hikes last about 60-90 minutes and we walk at a moderately brisk and steady pace. All are welcome to join us as we walk and talk. We sometimes end our hikes with a stop at a local establishment for a coffee/drink/ice cream.
Please let Cyndy know if you want to attend and/or have ideas for location. If you are interested in participating in this group, please let Cyndy know if you prefer weekday day, weekday evening, or Saturday hikes. Cyndy can be contacted at   clnelson03@gmail.com .
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